The Friday Poem: ‘Night time words to Ruby’ by Elizabeth Smither

New verse by the winner of the 2018 Ockham New Zealand national book award prize for poetry, Elizabeth Smither.

 

Night time words to Ruby

 

I hold you in my arms and say

beautiful girl, beautiful girl.

 

You do not want to go to bed: instead

you say you’re instructed to lie between

 

your mother and father like a bolster

and wait for them to slide inside.

 

I see the fresh sheets and the pillows

the throw laid diagonally across

 

the quiet dark against the curtains

the hush of a lamp: intimacy after

 

someone’s wedding party. Your bunk

seems so high, aloof as a tower

 

and later when I check on you you’ve

half disrobed and put on your sleep mask

 

the duvet is slewed across your body.

Beautiful girl, beautiful girl in your tower

 

not far from the ceiling which you could reach.

I am bringing something I do not know

 

down to you in my embrace. An angel’s

wingtip, the first air movement of

 

a visitation of coming and forever grace.

Beautiful girl, beautiful girl.

 

Elizabeth Smither, 2018


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